How Many Kids Have Tantrums?

According to Michel Borba, a parent expert who has done research, 7 out of 10 children have temper tantrums.


If this is true, how would a preschool teacher ever conduct class?  There would be at least one tantrum every day.  As someone who both taught and supervised, as an assistant principal, pre-K classes, my experience, and I recognize that it is anecdotal, even though it covers 20 classes, doesn’t support that high a figure.   Are they including a child who has just one temper tantrum – my son?  (My daughter never had any.)

We were leaving the supermarket about 4 blocks from our apartment with cookies and some other groceries under the stroller in which my 1 year old daughter was sitting.  All of a sudden, my 4 year old son started shouting that he wanted a cookie.  I said that he could have one after lunch.  He started crying and yelling.  I reaffirmed my position, took hold of his hand a little tighter than normally and proceeded to walk home.

Is it embarrassing to have a crying yelling child at your side?  Of course!  Two more times of my saying “after lunch,” and one block from our house, he had calmed down.

I didn’t threaten – “If you don’t stop now, you are not going to get the cookie.”  After lunch, he got his cookie and this message from his mom.  “I want you to know that your making a fuss doesn’t change my behavior.  I’ll do what I said I would do.  So there is really no point to your crying and yelling.”

My son never had a tantrum again.  He learned to use words to communicate what he wanted, but that’s probably more of a book than a blog.

So, Moms, Dads and others confronted by a terrible temper tantrum:

  1. Remain Calm.  Remember you’re the adult.
  2. Make sure that the child is not in a position to hurt himself or others.
  3. Don’t threaten.  Inform how you will deal with the child’s demand.
  4. Remember that screaming child is the sweet bundle of joy that fell asleep on your shoulder.

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